Sound of Thunder
The first 24-hours after our ultrasound, the battle raged in my mind. As I tried to recall terms the tech and radiologist had used, I foraged google images for something resembling the picture of my baby’s skull on the ultrasound screen – an image that was burned into my mind. And still is. Nothing I found looked exactly like it.
I had remembered the tech saying she couldn’t find “structures” and the radiologist mentioning the “left side” so I began asking google things like “can a baby live with half a brain?” while inside I shuddered that I would have to even imagine such an outcome.
It’s interesting, when something like this hits you, how fast you move from expecting that your baby is perfect and will have the best of everything– to just wanting a living, thriving baby whom you will eventually get to take home and hold and nurse, no matter what physical or mental problems they may deal with for life. You just want life for your baby. That’s all you’re asking for; the rest is sweet, blissful lagniappe.
My OBGYN was in surgeries the entire day following our ultrasound, but his nurse Maria assured me that our report was on his desk for review and we would hear from him the following day, which was Thursday.
On Thursday mid-morning, I had just dropped off five of my kids with a friend and was walking into the door of TSO with Maggie for our eye appointments when my phone begin ringing. I missed the call while digging in my bag and saw it was my OBGYN’s number. I quickly signed us in and listened to my voicemail while filling out double paperwork for both of us. The voicemail was from Maria, my Dr.’s phone nurse, who urged me to call her back because my Dr. wanted to talk with me about the ultrasound.
My stomach turned as I tried to focus on what I was writing on the intake forms for TSO and Maggie happily swung her feet beside me while reading a book. She was thrilled to have this time alone with Mama and to be getting new glasses.
While she went into a room to have pictures taken of her retinas I stood outside the door, phoning my OB’s office, impatiently pressing the appropriate number through all the prompts just to get to Maria’s voicemail and let her know we were in eye appointments and that I’d call again as soon as we were done.
As we were whisked through our screening and met the optometrist for the exam, I tried to have fun with Maggie during our special outing. She chatted away to me and everyone she met. After my exam, while she was in the middle of hers, I stepped outside the door to take another call from the OBGYN office – this time it was the scheduler confirming my appointment for 9:30 the following morning. As it turned out, Maria had taken it upon herself to schedule me in as soon as possible, without actually talking to me. I was thankful. Maria knows how to get it done. But I could also sense that this was urgent enough for her to get me in as soon as possible.
Still, I went through the process of picking out new frames with a a giggly eight-year-old, content with knowing that tomorrow morning we’d have some more answers. Whatever the news might bring, answers were what we wanted.
Calm Before the Storm
“Let Your steadfast Love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
God is so faithful to give you what you need – many times even before you need it…. And once again, He was proving His dependability right at the start of our trial.
As soon as closest friends and family members learned of our news, we knew they were in prayer, and we quickly began receiving Scripture references they wanted to share with our tender hearts.
Again and again, I would be given a verse by a friend – and it would be the same verse I’d been led to by the Lord earlier that day… or the same verse another friend had also given to me.
I started writing all these down in my journal, and decided to also jot them down on notecards to read over and over – taking captive the thoughts of my heart and making them bend and mold to God’s Sacred Word.
And as He promised, His calm began to wash over me.
Still, the next morning, as Jeff and I sat in the OBGYN’s room, waiting for him to come with news, I fidgeted nervously. The previous day, I was convinced he would walk in and tell us our baby had never developed a brain and would not live. What I desperately WANTED him to say was “I’m sorry, but I’m 99% sure your baby has Downs Syndrome.” I would have lept off the table and hugged his neck for that one… but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I continued to pray for God’s mercy as we waited.
As it turned out, we’d have to wait even longer for answers. Our OBGYN had only been sent the report from the ultrasound tech – not even the scans for him to look at himself. Compassionately, he expressed his concern, but left the decision completely up to us whether we wanted to move forward with further testing. We decided to go ahead with a panorama bloodwork, and also a visit to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Houston.
Very quickly, Maria, my Dr.’s phone nurse was hugging my neck and telling me we would hear from Houston very soon for an appointment and I was whisked away for a blood draw.
Finally leaving our OB’s office, I felt a real sense of peace and – for the first time since this nightmare began – hope. The one thing that I had pleaded with God for up to that morning was that we would be given some hope. And even though we didn’t have answers, I had a kind of peace and hope that can only come from God suspending your heart up in His hand.
We left the parking garage and Jeff treated me to my favorite Baskin Robbins ice cream and within an hour the specialist in Houston called and scheduled me for Tuesday afternoon, July 30th.
The entire weekend I was blessed with peace. So many were praying for us and we could certainly feel it. I was praying through Scripture and the Psalms were a healing balm for me. And I also began to feel the baby move more than ever before.
One of the verses God have to me that I clung to as Tuesday approached was from II Chronicles chapter 20…
“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed… for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
This I repeated to myself every time I felt the anxiety begin to well up within me, and Tuesday was upon us before we knew it.